Daughter of African immigrants.
These are just a couple of things that represent me, and are the antithesis of our current president.
Sadly, we live in a time where the news and our social media feeds are on a consistent cycle filled with more tragedies, hate and sadness than ever before. To say the colors red, white and blue rub my melanin skin slightly differently these day would be an understatement. But when surrounded in a place where you look around and see people that look like you, all coming together in peace for art — well, that's only the beginning of what Afropunk is to me.
For those who haven't been, Afropunk, by dictionary definition, is an arts festival that includes music, photography and more. But for those of us who have experienced this whirlwind of an art-filled blessing, we know it is beyond that. It represents black culture, community, art, diversity, inclusivity (in every sense of the word) and, to be frank, cool people, dope music and just good vibes.
I'll never forget the overwhelming amount of emotions that came with Solange's performance last year. Singing along to "F.U.B.U.," hearing our sound travel in waves through the crowd …
"And all my niggas in the whole wide world / Made this song to make it all y'all's turn / For us / This shit is for us"
Us — the key word to this all.
See, we may live in a time of the Trump Era, but I refuse to call this Trump's America. Together, this space reminds me that this is, in fact, ours. Too often words like "borders" and "shootings" blaze the front of media headlines. Let's be real — it's heartbreaking, exhausting and beyond frustrating that so many lives are exploited to this after all they have contributed to build and shape this country.
And yet, whenever I look around at Afropunk each year, it’s just another reminder that you can try to break down, strip and destroy everything that we are and stand for, but you will not break us or keep us down.
It is here where we come together beyond class, gender, race, religion, walk of life. Instead, that story is your art. You are you. Regardless if we ever formally meet, the Afropunk community is fam. So although Solange might not be gracing the stage this year, the song remains the same: this shit is FOR US.